Name Sayers’ Joyboys in the Grindhouse has broad utility. Its varied uses as a synth-pop, cumbia, psych-rock, and hip-hop collection give the eleven-track release a staying power that few other modern releases share. Devin James Fry and his three bandmates cast a hip and intelligent eye toward posterity without ever succumbing to pretentiousness. Joyboys in the Grindhouse is a wildly entertaining outing. Collaborating with diverse guest talents such as Brooklyn rapper Chris Conde, his Orlando rap counterpart E-Turn, and The MC5’s legendary guitarist and solo artist Wayne Kramer peppers the release with inspired contributions certain to garner even greater audience appeal. Darkness and a quirky sensibility permeate these songs, but the pop pedigree of the songs ensures a level of unquestionable accessibility.
Grammy-nominated producer Grant Eppley helps frame the songs in the proper sonic light. There are a lot of bases to cover. The band’s penchant for rich and rewarding arrangements announces itself from the first with “We Multiply”. It’s a song that’s far from content pursuing a single line of musical inquiry and branches off in a multitude of directions without losing its raison d’etre. “Receiving Evil” is a synthesizer Grand Guignol of sorts, practically abusing the listener at points, particularly near its conclusion. Bass player Grant Himmler stands out during this performance and his chemistry with drummer Marc Henry is undeniable.
You don’t often hear hooks like they serve up. “Reaper” confirms this with its deceptively light touch during the introduction, but Name Sayers can’t help but twist those initial intentions in darker directions. They incorporate synthesizers with such endless variety that you can’t wait to hear what detours they will take next. “Standing Wave” veers into lush quasi-balladry, or what would qualify as such for this band, and builds to its final effects rather than showing all of its cards at once. It’s definitely one of the album’s more melancholy moments.
The collaborations with outside talents are among the album’s high water marks. “Gravedancer” catches fire from the beginning, but Chris Corde’s added touch raises the temperature even more. Limited imaginations might balk at a synthesis of dark synth-pop with hip-hop on first impression, but Name Sayers will make believers out of the naysayers. “Three Will Grow Back” will as well. Orlando’s E-Turn and Corde dominate much of this tune and never disappoint. They throw themselves into the track with unbridled enthusiasm and Wayne Kramer’s guitar cuts like a razor through the dense yet powerful arrangement.
Eppley’s production gets a great drum sound for Henry to open “2 Go Missing”. Henry continues to impress listeners throughout the track with his muscular and spot-on percussion. Positioning this track near the end of the album is a shrewd move as it rates among the best songs the band recorded for this release. There isn’t a miss among the eleven cuts. Name Sayers put their best artistic foot forward with Joyboys in the Grindhouse and carve out a space in the indie music landscape that no one else occupies. It’s well worth your time to seek this one out.